Disney and Lucasfilm have released the first two promos for Star Wars Rebels, giving us our first real look at footage, which includes new characters like Ezra, the teenage con artist and possible Jedi who must defend his home world of Lothal from invading Imperial forces. Set between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, Star Wars Rebels follows the formation of the Rebel alliance as the Empire strengths its grip on the galaxy while hunting down the last remaining Jedi. Watch as Cowboy Jedi Kanan makes the leap to hyper speed in the upcoming summer TV movie before moving to Disney XD in the fall.
Meet Chopper, Grumpy Astromech Droid
He can be cranky, he takes his time, and he can sometimes have a bad attitude. But he's also incredibly loyal and heroic. Meet Chopper, astromech droid of the starship Ghost in the highly anticipated Star Wars Rebels animated series, revealed for the first time in this exclusive video.
According to Dave Filoni, executive producer of the series, "He likes to do things the way that he wants, not necessarily the way the crew wants, or as fast as the crew would like, but he gets the job done... If Artoo's your favorite dog, Chopper's the cat."
There are some key differences between Artoo and Chopper. "Artoo actually cares whether or not you like him," says Kilian Plunkett, art director of Star Wars Rebels, "whereas Chopper doesn't care at all. Half the time he doesn't even do what he was asked to do. He just decides to go off and do something else."
Chopper is a new kind of droid in Star Wars -- he is not completely subservient to his masters, and he can be gruff. This personality is echoed in the character's look and sound: Chopper appears more beat up and run down than most astromech droids, and his beeps are in low, grunt-like tones. "He's built from all these different parts. There's not one part of him that's original," says concept artist Amy Beth Christenson. Chopper's design, as seen in the video, takes direct inspiration from original trilogy concept artist Ralph McQuarrie's initial ideas for R2-D2, including the expressive arms that fold out of his head.
In the end, Chopper is an essential part of the team, and often saves the day -- even if he complains while doing it.
Meet Kanan, Cowboy Jedi
Not every guardian of peace and justice was lost to the tragedy of Order 66. Introducing Kanan, a survivor of the Emperor's Jedi purge and one of the main characters of Star Wars Rebels.
Kanan, voiced by Freddie Prinze, Jr., is a less traditional Force-wielder than fans are used to seeing. He carries a blaster, is a little sarcastic, and keeps his past a secret. "I like to call Kanan 'the cowboy Jedi,'" says executive producer Dave Filoni. As shown in this video, his Jedi robes are long gone, replaced with armor and a holster, though a samurai-like ponytail hints at his Jedi Knight origins.
In Star Wars Rebels, set between Episode III and IV, Kanan has been underground for years, evading the Empire. If the Imperials become aware of his existence "he's going to get killed," says art director Kilian Plunkett. He still has his lightsaber, but no longer uses it for fear of revealing his true identity -- and has ultimately forsaken the ways of the Jedi Order.
Star Wars Rebels will show Kanan's journey as he rediscovers himself, just as a rebellion begins to form against the Empire. According to Filoni, "He's a gunslinger that needs to put the gun away and pick up the sword again, and fight for noble causes and selfless causes." But what will happen when he chooses to reignite his Jedi weapon, fighting once again for a greater purpose?
The video closes with a tease of what's to come: an encounter with the nightmarish Inquisitor, the Empire's Jedi hunter.
Meet Ezra, The Street-Smart Hero
In Star Wars Rebels, fans will see the rise of the Rebellion through Ezra: a 14-year-old con artist who learns to fight for a greater good. The seemingly-reluctant hero is revealed here in a video filled with character concept art, early animation, and creator interviews.
Growing up on his own in the age of the Empire, Ezra has had to rely on his wit and cunning to get by. As voice actor Taylor Gray explains, "He's very street-smart, he's a pickpocket, he's a little thief. But he's doing it all because he needs to survive."
Executive producer Dave Filoni adds that Ezra is not a bad kid. Although he may enjoy stealing from the Empire, his behavior has been influenced by the world around him - a world that is under Imperial control.
But his hard life has also made his world smaller. "He doesn't really trust anyone," says Rayne Roberts, creative executive ofStar Wars Rebels. "That's kind of his motto in life. He has that hard edge at times." When audiences first meet Ezra, he is not yet a Rebel and is not yet interested in restoring freedom to the galaxy -- but that will soon change when Ezra is introduced to his new surrogate family: the crew of the Ghost.
Greg Weisman, executive producer, says, "His eyes get opened to the fact that there are people who care, who are trying to fight the good fight. And he becomes one of them." Still, there is more to Ezra than even he knows.
Ezra is Force-sensitive, Filoni reveals, though he is unaware that he is tapping into this mystical energy field. Ezra knows he has some strange abilities, but they're "instinctive and reactionary." It is only through his relationship with Kanan, a Jedi Survivor and crew member of the Ghost, that Ezra will learn the true nature of his power. Together, they will forge new paths and destinies - and a rebellion will rise.
Set between the events of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope - an era spanning almost two decades never-before explored on-screen - Star Wars Rebels takes place in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape.